Dorothy Day as Dostoyevsky character (from her letters)

October 10, 1960:

…One of the things which bothers me mightily is the bitterness and criticism of angry young men. Do pray for them and all such. Sometimes I try to tell myself, finding myself too critical, “they are prophets crying out in this time.” But there are too many of them. Around a place like the Catholic Worker there are always too many, too much of the rebellious spirit. From the last year we have had with us a youngish woman, brilliant mentally, but destructive in all her criticism, and almost blind, covered with rashes and sores, crying out constantly against her fate. To me she epitomizes rebellion. She always has someone devoted to her, bringing her all the latest drugs and also liquor. Ammon Hennacy hates all medicine and has never taken any. He says my arthritis is because I am stiff-necked and advocates fasting for every ailment. He is a continual faster, a vegetarian, and doing without all food every Friday all day. One Lent he fasted as the Moslems do, another he fasted completely all Lent, for 46 days. He is truly a prophet in many ways. But he sure makes us all feel guilty and mediocre.

But all this rebellion makes me long for obedience, hunger and thirst for it, as a woman does for a husband whom she can esteem and who will direct her. Women especially cry out against their terrible freedom. But trying to be obedient and also personally responsible, responsive to the calls made upon one, means we are overburdened.

About Eve Tushnet

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